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Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within In This Article Bibliography. This follows a tendency typical of the Hellenistic period, to produce select lists for different genres see canon. However, even if Caecilius' ten were the same as Hermogenes', the selection was slow to acquire canonical status. There is evidence for alternative lists.

Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Email or Customer ID. Forgot your password? Forgot password? Old Password. New Password. Password Changed Successfully Your password has been changed. Returning user. Request Username Can't sign in? Forgot your username? As a boy Demosthenes had suffered from a speech impediment, an inarticulate and stammering pronunciation. He worked on his diction, his voice and his gestures.

It is, however, unknown whether these vignettes are factual accounts of events in Demosthenes' life or merely anecdotes used to illustrate his perseverance and determination. Between B. He mainly remained a judicial orator, but started involving himself in the politics of the Athenian democracy.


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In B. The subject of Against Timocrates and Against Aristocrates is the need to crack down on corruption. Demosthenes denounced measures regarded as dishonest or unworthy of Athenian traditions. The orator espoused moderation and proposed the reform of "symmories" boards as a source of funding for the Athenian fleet.

In both speeches, the orator opposed Eubulus, the most powerful Athenian statesman of the period B. Although none of his early orations were successful, Demosthenes established himself as an important political personality and broke with Eubulus' faction, a prominent member of which was Aeschines.

He laid the foundations for his future political successes and for becoming the leader of his own party. His arguments revealed his desire to articulate Athens' needs and interests. Since B. The theme of the First Philippic B. From this moment until B. In the three Olynthiacs, Demosthenes criticized his compatriots for being idle and urged Athens to help Olynthus. Demosthenes decided to prosecute his wealthy opponent and wrote the judicial oration "Against Meidias.

Demosthenes was among those who orientated themselves towards a compromise. In his first encounter with Philip, Demosthenes is said to have collapsed due to fright. Philip imposed his own harsh terms that the ecclesia officially accepted. Nevertheless, when an Athenian delegation travelled to Pella to put Philip under oath for the final conclusion of the treaty, the King of Macedon was campaigning abroad. Finally, peace was sworn in Pherae, but Demosthenes accused the other envoys of venality. Demosthenes travelled to Peloponnese, in order to detach as many cities as possible from Macedon's influence, but his efforts were generally unsuccessful.

Demosthenes delivered On the False Embassy against Aeschines, who was facing a charge of high treason. Nonetheless, Aeschines was acquitted by the narrow margin of 30 votes by a jury which may have numbered as many as Because of this turbulence, the Athenian Assembly convened. Demosthenes delivered On the Chersonese and convinced the Athenians not to recall Diopeithes.

1. Introduction

During the same year, he delivered the Third Philippic , which is considered to be the best of his political orations. He told them that it would be "better to die a thousand times than pay court to Philip". Demosthenes was sent to Byzantium, where he renewed the alliance between that city and Athens.

Greek Oratory: Tradition and Originality

Thanks to the orator's diplomatic manoeuvres Abydos also entered into an alliance with Athens. These developments worried Philip and increased his anger towards Demosthenes. The Athenian Assembly, however, laid aside Philip's grievances against Demosthenes' conduct and denounced the peace treaty, an action equivalent to an official declaration of war. Philip made his last and most effective bid to conquer southern Greece , assisted by Aeschines' stance in the Amphictyonic Council.

After this significant victory, Philip swiftly entered Phocis in B.

Full text of "Attic orators from Antiphon to Isaeus, volume 1"

He then turned south-east down the Cephissus valley, seized Elateia, and restored the fortifications of the city. At the same time, Athens orchestrated the creation of an alliance with Euboea, Megara, Achaea, Corinth, Acarnania and some other states in the Peloponnese. However, the most desirable ally for Athens was Thebes. Therefore, Demosthenes was sent to the Boeotian city by Athens; Philip also sent a deputation, but the Athenian orator succeeded in securing an alliance with Thebes. In any case, the alliance came at a price; Thebes' control of Boeotia was recognized, Thebes was to command solely on land and jointly at sea, and Athens was to pay two thirds of the campaign's cost.

While the Athenians and the Thebans were preparing themselves for war, Philip made a final attempt to appease his enemies, proposing in vain a new peace treaty. Demosthenes fought as a mere hoplite.

Greek language and dialects (Classical times)

However, the Athenian orator and statesman Demades is said to have remarked: "O King, when Fortune has cast you in the role of Agamemnon, are you not ashamed to act the part of Thersites an obscene soldier of the Greek army during the Trojan War? After Chaeronea, Philip inflicted a harsh punishment upon Thebes, but made peace with Athens on very lenient terms.

Demosthenes encouraged the fortification of Athens and was chosen by the ecclesia to deliver the Funeral Oration. After Philip's death, the army proclaimed Alexander, then aged 20, as the new King of Macedon. Greek cities like Athens and Thebes saw in this change of leadership an opportunity to regain their full independence. Demosthenes celebrated Philip's assassination and played a leading part in his city's uprising. According to Aeschines, "it was but the seventh day after the death of his daughter, and though the ceremonies of mourning were not yet completed, he put a garland on his head and white raiment on his body, and there he stood making thank-offerings, violating all decency.

When the Athenians learned that Alexander had moved quickly to Boeotia, they panicked and begged the new King of Macedon for mercy.

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Alexander admonished them but imposed no punishment. Alexander felt free to engage the Thracians and the Illyrians. While he was campaigning in the north, the Thebans and the Athenians rebelled once again, believing in the rumors that Alexander was dead. Darius III of Persia financed the Greek cities that rose up against Macedon, and Demosthenes is said to have received about talents on behalf of Athens and to have faced accusations of embezzlement.

He did not attack Athens, but demanded the exile of all anti-Macedonian politicians, Demosthenes first of all, a request turned down by the ecclesia.


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  6. Despite the unsuccessful ventures against Philip and Alexander, the Athenians still respected Demosthenes. This proposal became a political issue and in B. In his most brilliant speech, [85] On the Crown, Demosthenes effectively defended Ctesiphon and attacked vehemently those who would have preferred peace with Macedon. The orator was unrepentant about his past actions and policies and insisted that, when in power, the constant aim of his policies was the honor and the ascendancy of his country; and on every occasion and in all business he preserved his loyalty to Athens.

    Harpalus, to whom Alexander had entrusted huge treasures, absconded and sought refuge in Athens.